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Migrant shelter vote leads to resignation, recall effort in Alma

Following a vote that paved the way for a migrant shelter in Alma to move forward, fallout continues as a recall effort gets underway.
Published: Sep. 20, 2021 at 3:57 PM EDT
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ALMA, Mich. (WJRT) - Following a vote that paved the way for a migrant shelter in Alma to move forward, fallout continues as a recall effort gets underway.

The vote was made last week by the Alma City Commission to approve a rezoning request that would allow Bethany Christian Services to operate a shelter for young migrants at the former Warwick Living Center.

Immediately following that vote, the chair of the Alma Planning Commission, Donald Ayers, resigned effective immediately.

Weeks before the city commission made its vote, the Alma Planning Commission voted to not recommend approval for the rezoning request. This fact is what is at the heart of the new recall effort against three city commission members.

Recall petitions were filed last week with the Gratiot County Clerk against Alma Vice Mayor Roxann Harrington and city commissioners Audra Stahl and Nick Piccolo.

“They’re disrespecting the citizens of the community,” said Chuck Murphy, chair of the Gratiot County Republican Party.

The Gratiot Co. GOP is helping to lead the recall effort against the three members.

“The planning commission turned it down for valid reasons and they decided to overturn it,” Murphy said.

Murphy said a number of community groups are also helping with the recall effort and said that what the city commission did is “unprecedented.”

“I believe it’s unprecedented,” he said. “I believe it’s the only time it’s been done for the sure the last 20 years we know. They’ve never overruled the planning commission decision.”

Gratiot County Clerk, Angie Thompson, told ABC12 on Monday that the next step for the recall effort will come when the county’s election commission meets to determine if the recall effort can move forward. She said that meeting will happen on September 29.

Murphy said that coming soon, a legal challenge will be made against the Alma City Commission for its vote to go against the planning commission’s recommendation.

Stay with ABC12 for any new developments.

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